In machine learning systems, bias mitigation approaches aim to make outcomes fairer across privileged and unprivileged groups. Bias mitigation methods work in different ways and have known "waterfall" effects, e.g., mitigating bias at one place may manifest bias elsewhere. In this paper, we aim to characterise impacted cohorts when mitigation interventions are applied. To do so, we treat intervention effects as a classification task and learn an explainable meta-classifier to identify cohorts that have altered outcomes. We examine a range of bias mitigation strategies that work at various stages of the model life cycle. We empirically demonstrate that our meta-classifier is able to uncover impacted cohorts. Further, we show that all tested mitigation strategies negatively impact a non-trivial fraction of cases, i.e., people who receive unfavourable outcomes solely on account of mitigation efforts. This is despite improvement in fairness metrics. We use these results as a basis to argue for more careful audits of static mitigation interventions that go beyond aggregate metrics.
* This paper was accepted at NeurIPS 2023 workshop
A well-defined reward function is crucial for successful training of an reinforcement learning (RL) agent. However, defining a suitable reward function is a notoriously challenging task, especially in complex, multi-objective environments. Developers often have to resort to starting with an initial, potentially misspecified reward function, and iteratively adjusting its parameters, based on observed learned behavior. In this work, we aim to automate this process by proposing ITERS, an iterative reward shaping approach using human feedback for mitigating the effects of a misspecified reward function. Our approach allows the user to provide trajectory-level feedback on agent's behavior during training, which can be integrated as a reward shaping signal in the following training iteration. We also allow the user to provide explanations of their feedback, which are used to augment the feedback and reduce user effort and feedback frequency. We evaluate ITERS in three environments and show that it can successfully correct misspecified reward functions.
We consider an aggregated human-AI collaboration aimed at generating a joint interpretable model. The model takes the form of Boolean decision rules, where human input is provided in the form of logical conditions or as partial templates. This focus on the combined construction of a model offers a different perspective on joint decision making. Previous efforts have typically focused on aggregating outcomes rather than decisions logic. We demonstrate the proposed approach through two examples and highlight the usefulness and challenges of the approach.
* Paper at Artificial Intelligence & Human-Computer Interaction
Workshop at ICML 2023
Understanding the differences between machine learning (ML) models is of interest in scenarios ranging from choosing amongst a set of competing models, to updating a deployed model with new training data. In these cases, we wish to go beyond differences in overall metrics such as accuracy to identify where in the feature space do the differences occur. We formalize this problem of model differencing as one of predicting a dissimilarity function of two ML models' outputs, subject to the representation of the differences being human-interpretable. Our solution is to learn a Joint Surrogate Tree (JST), which is composed of two conjoined decision tree surrogates for the two models. A JST provides an intuitive representation of differences and places the changes in the context of the models' decision logic. Context is important as it helps users to map differences to an underlying mental model of an AI system. We also propose a refinement procedure to increase the precision of a JST. We demonstrate, through an empirical evaluation, that such contextual differencing is concise and can be achieved with no loss in fidelity over naive approaches.
We present AutoDOViz, an interactive user interface for automated decision optimization (AutoDO) using reinforcement learning (RL). Decision optimization (DO) has classically being practiced by dedicated DO researchers where experts need to spend long periods of time fine tuning a solution through trial-and-error. AutoML pipeline search has sought to make it easier for a data scientist to find the best machine learning pipeline by leveraging automation to search and tune the solution. More recently, these advances have been applied to the domain of AutoDO, with a similar goal to find the best reinforcement learning pipeline through algorithm selection and parameter tuning. However, Decision Optimization requires significantly more complex problem specification when compared to an ML problem. AutoDOViz seeks to lower the barrier of entry for data scientists in problem specification for reinforcement learning problems, leverage the benefits of AutoDO algorithms for RL pipeline search and finally, create visualizations and policy insights in order to facilitate the typical interactive nature when communicating problem formulation and solution proposals between DO experts and domain experts. In this paper, we report our findings from semi-structured expert interviews with DO practitioners as well as business consultants, leading to design requirements for human-centered automation for DO with RL. We evaluate a system implementation with data scientists and find that they are significantly more open to engage in DO after using our proposed solution. AutoDOViz further increases trust in RL agent models and makes the automated training and evaluation process more comprehensible. As shown for other automation in ML tasks, we also conclude automation of RL for DO can benefit from user and vice-versa when the interface promotes human-in-the-loop.
Interpretable and explainable machine learning has seen a recent surge of interest. We focus on safety as a key motivation behind the surge and make the relationship between interpretability and safety more quantitative. Toward assessing safety, we introduce the concept of maximum deviation via an optimization problem to find the largest deviation of a supervised learning model from a reference model regarded as safe. We then show how interpretability facilitates this safety assessment. For models including decision trees, generalized linear and additive models, the maximum deviation can be computed exactly and efficiently. For tree ensembles, which are not regarded as interpretable, discrete optimization techniques can still provide informative bounds. For a broader class of piecewise Lipschitz functions, we leverage the multi-armed bandit literature to show that interpretability produces tighter (regret) bounds on the maximum deviation. We present case studies, including one on mortgage approval, to illustrate our methods and the insights about models that may be obtained from deviation maximization.
Explainability of Reinforcement Learning (RL) policies remains a challenging research problem, particularly when considering RL in a safety context. Understanding the decisions and intentions of an RL policy offer avenues to incorporate safety into the policy by limiting undesirable actions. We propose the use of a Boolean Decision Rules model to create a post-hoc rule-based summary of an agent's policy. We evaluate our proposed approach using a DQN agent trained on an implementation of a lava gridworld and show that, given a hand-crafted feature representation of this gridworld, simple generalised rules can be created, giving a post-hoc explainable summary of the agent's policy. We discuss possible avenues to introduce safety into a RL agent's policy by using rules generated by this rule-based model as constraints imposed on the agent's policy, as well as discuss how creating simple rule summaries of an agent's policy may help in the debugging process of RL agents.
AI solutions are heavily dependant on the quality and accuracy of the input training data, however the training data may not always fully reflect the most up-to-date policy landscape or may be missing business logic. The advances in explainability have opened the possibility of allowing users to interact with interpretable explanations of ML predictions in order to inject modifications or constraints that more accurately reflect current realities of the system. In this paper, we present a solution which leverages the predictive power of ML models while allowing the user to specify modifications to decision boundaries. Our interactive overlay approach achieves this goal without requiring model retraining, making it appropriate for systems that need to apply instant changes to their decision making. We demonstrate that user feedback rules can be layered with the ML predictions to provide immediate changes which in turn supports learning with less data.
Machine learning models may involve decision boundaries that change over time due to updates to rules and regulations, such as in loan approvals or claims management. However, in such scenarios, it may take time for sufficient training data to accumulate in order to retrain the model to reflect the new decision boundaries. While work has been done to reinforce existing decision boundaries, very little has been done to cover these scenarios where decision boundaries of the ML models should change in order to reflect new rules. In this paper, we focus on user-provided feedback rules as a way to expedite the ML models update process, and we formally introduce the problem of pre-processing training data to edit an ML model in response to feedback rules such that once the model is retrained on the pre-processed data, its decision boundaries align more closely with the rules. To solve this problem, we propose a novel data augmentation method, the Feedback Rule-Based Oversampling Technique. Extensive experiments using different ML models and real world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the method, in particular the benefit of augmentation and the ability to handle many feedback rules.
In complex tasks where the reward function is not straightforward and consists of a set of objectives, multiple reinforcement learning (RL) policies that perform task adequately, but employ different strategies can be trained by adjusting the impact of individual objectives on reward function. Understanding the differences in strategies between policies is necessary to enable users to choose between offered policies, and can help developers understand different behaviors that emerge from various reward functions and training hyperparameters in RL systems. In this work we compare behavior of two policies trained on the same task, but with different preferences in objectives. We propose a method for distinguishing between differences in behavior that stem from different abilities from those that are a consequence of opposing preferences of two RL agents. Furthermore, we use only data on preference-based differences in order to generate contrasting explanations about agents' preferences. Finally, we test and evaluate our approach on an autonomous driving task and compare the behavior of a safety-oriented policy and one that prefers speed.